The new basic data on Israel-Iran are these:
1."The peace process is based on three false basic assumptions; that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main cause of instability in the Middle East, that the conflict is territorial and not ideological, and that the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders will end the conflict." Avigdor Lieberman, 2006.
2. "Past prime ministers were prepared to make wide-ranging concessions and the result of the Olmert-Livni government was the second Lebanon war, the operation in Gaza, severance of relations with Qatar and Mauritania, Gilad Schalit still in captivity and the peace process at a dead end.." Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli Foreign Minister, 2009.
3. Iran now has the techniques to make and deliver a nuclear warhead within 2 years.
4. Obama is at least conciliatory to formerly outlaw states like Cuba, Venezuela and Iran.
5. Obama has a special relationship with Islam unlike any US President.
6. Influential Obama supporters include noted anti-semites and noted Hamas fellow-travellers.
7. Joe Biden says Israel will be "ill-advised" to attack Iran.
8. The US told Netanyahu that Obama will be "out of town" when the Israeli PM visits Washington in May.
9. Ahmadinejad is strong favourite to be re-elected in June.
10. The countries of the Arabian peninsula fear a nuclear Iran.
11. I doubt anyone exists who thinks Obama will undertake a pre-emptive strike against Iran. It's possible, but nobody thinks it.
12. Israel may need to cross Iraq to get to Iran.
13. The chance of a successful attack is much greater if the USA helps Israel.
14. Israel probably has far better intelligence than the USA.
If I were Israeli, especially an Israeli with Netanyahu and Barak's military background, I would not tolerate a nuclear Iran if it were in my power to prevent it. The Times' foreign editor:
What is significant is not their political affiliations but their military background. Mr Barak, the most decorated soldier in the Israeli army, once headed Sayeret Matkal, Israel's equivalent of the SAS before becoming the army chief. One soldier serving under him was Mr Netanyahu. Another veteran of this elite unit was Moshe Yaalon, also in the Cabinet. These men have taken part in assassination operations against Palestinian leaders and commanded daring raids deep inside enemy territory. In short, they have the experience and the confidence to plan and execute an attack on Iran.
Indeed, Mr Barak was Defence Minister in the previous Government when Israel carried out its latest secret raid in January - on a weapons convoy in Sudan. According to details released this week, Israeli F16 bombers, protected by F15 fighters, attacked targets in Sudan. Pilotless drones then filmed the wreckage, relaying back images which revealed that some vehicles were undamaged. The jets then flew a second sortie. The aircraft, which were refuelled in mid-air, flew 1,750 miles from Israel to Sudan and back. The distance from Israel to Natanz, the uranium enrichment centre in Iran, is 900 miles one way.
A factor in any Israeli calculation will be Iran's air defences, which are far more daunting than Sudan's. Here too there is good reason to believe that Israel may act sooner rather than later. Russia has sold Iran the sophisticated S300 surface-to-air system. Israel would want to launch an attack before these missiles are in place.
These military imperatives might make sense to soldiers, but surely the political cost of a pre-emptive raid - not to mention the risk of plunging the Middle East into another big war - would rule out an attack.
This argument might make sense from Europe but in the Middle East quite another logic is at work. Many Arab states, particularly in the Gulf, are more afraid of a nuclear-armed Iran than Israel is. A military strike that delayed that threat would be welcomed in some Arab capitals. The Israelis know that they would face a huge international outcry. But that happened after the raid on Iraq and many countries later thanked them privately. More recently they were widely attacked after the offensive against Gaza in January, but over time that criticism has died down.
Today the only serious obstacle to this battle is Barack Obama.
Would Congress stand for an American President obstructing Israel to protect Islamo-fascists? Would Americans? That is the question for America. For Israel it's to be or not to be, that is the question.
The be-medalled one on the right has never seen combat. The lapel-pinned one on the left, saluting like a pro, has never been in the military, but he has been a community organizer and commander-in-chief. He has views on lapel pins like the one he's wearing today at the D-Day celebrations:
Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security. I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest.These folk are phonies of course, but there was one real person who wasn't invited, someone who did serve in WWII, Queen Elizabeth II. She wasn't invited because Sarkozy wanted the D-Day anniversary to be a Sarkozy-Obama event and Brown didn't want to be upstaged. Prince Charles was a last minute insertion as the British public became scandalized. This phoney-fest was memorable however. British veterans booed Gordon Brown:
The veterans booed him because it is thought that Downing Street encouraged Sarkozy to not invite the Queen so that he could get another photo-op with Obama. The Obama obsession seems evidenced by the Prime Mentalist’s renaming of ‘Omaha beach’ to ‘Obama beach'
Gordon Brown is a dead man walking in British politics and it's possible that today will be the last straw for the cowardly, callow, careerists who have been running my country for the last 12 years, so that they finally defenestrate him.
It's just a matter now of getting the time with the president when we can sort through these options and then tee them up for him to make a decision
For the avoidance of doubt:
Yesterday we all went into town to wave flags at the procession bringing home Chris Hrbek, killed in Afghanistan.
|Fallen Marine gets hero's welcome in his hometown|
Marines leave Iraq victorious.
Democrats silent as Bush wins war they declared lost.
A pretty solid case for keeping the status quo.
This photograph was taken during the time President Clinton was wrangling with Senator Sam Nunn about homosexuals serving in the military. Senator Nunn was chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. The photo was on the front page of my local paper - it probably made the front page of most papers in the nation. It devasted Clinton's efforts to allow gays to openly serve in the military. What was once just a military policy, that could have been overturned by the president, became the law of the land.
The reason the law won't be overturned anytime soon has nothing to do with what the Generals or Admirals think (there are probably enough now who would support overturning the ban, if not for the law, just to curry favor with a liberal president). The reason the law will remain in place is parents don't want their eighteen year old sons and daughters sleeping next to a homosexual. Those parents vote. Incidentally, I'm with the parents on this one.
The Obama administration’s decision to remain neutral in the dispute between Great Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands is a shameful decision that will go down very badly across the Atlantic. As The Times has just reported, Washington has point blank refused to support British sovereignty over the Falklands, and is adopting a strictly neutral approach.
In 1956 America betrayed Britain, France and Israel over Suez while we waged war against the Arab nationalist, Nasser. That betrayal became a deep psychological motive for many British conservatives to pull away from America and creep towards the essentially anti-American EU. That tension was the deepest motif of Thatcher's struggle in the Conservative Party and led directly to her political downfall as she was stabbed in the back by the likes of Heseltine and Howe.
My opinion doesn't matter, but if you lose me, you lose many British conservatives and will find yourselves weakened even after you recover from your current sickness. I do not speak of the British governing class, they are mostly as bad as yours. This is more important.
A more emotional view from the author of "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People".
Reading the press, there is much controversy over Michael Hasting's Rolling Stone article about the contempt and insubordination on the part of General Stanley McChrystal and his staff toward the President and policy makers. Pundits at best question McChrystal's judgement for airing the President's dirty laundry in plain view of a Rolling Stone reporter. This isn't Defense News or the Stars and Stripes, where one of their reporters would have held off printing the contempt, at least till after McChrystal retired, in order to maintain their access to the brass.
I was ready to write a post about how McChrystal should be fired. But then I read the article. There isn't "skirt-chasing", "draft-dodging" contempt. This is a not-so subtle knife job on McChrystal's opponents. After reading the article, who looks more foolish McChrystal or his detractors?
The guy who is responsible for winning the hearts and minds of a nation at war with the Taliban (and a former Pentagon spokesman) doesn't know not to talk to Rolling Stone reporters? Right. Every damning quote is from a subordinate, not McChrystal himself. And yet the frustration and circus surrounding the Adminstration's approach to Afghanistan gets aired. McChrystal benefits - if he survives. If he loses, he retires at four-star pay and gets an open mike. But his detractors lose either way - note John McCain's rumblings. McChrystal is shrewd.
President Lincoln was asked why he kept Ulysses S. Grant on as a General during the civil war. Afterall, Grant was crude, unkempt, and a drinker; not at all the picture of a gentlemen like General George B. McClellan. "He fights" was Lincoln's answer.
Secretary Gates has no qualms over firing Generals, especially pretty boys. But I think he'll prevail on Obama to keep McChrystal - he fights.
UPDATE: Some similar observations from Max Boot:
...Despite the calls for his firing emanating from the usual quarters on the left, the general is certainly not guilty of violating the chain of command in the way that truly insubordinate generals like Douglas MacArthur have. Recall that MacArthur publicly disagreed with Truman’ strategy in the Korean War. Likewise, Admiral Fox Fallon was fired as Centcom commander in 2008 after publicly disagreeing in an Esquire article with Bush-administration strategy over Iran. McChrystal does nothing of the sort. At worst, one of his aides says that McChrystal was “disappointed” by his initial meetings with the president, who looked “uncomfortable and intimidated.” Most of the disparaging comments heard from McChrystal’s aides are directed not at the president but at presidential aides who oppose the strategy that the president himself announced back in the fall and that McChrystal is working 24/7 to implement. Is this type of banter enough for Obama to fire McChrystal?
The WSJ reports the Navy fired a destroyer commander and removed eight sailors from their ship after misbehavior in overseas ports:
A Navy spokesman in Norfolk said the misbehavior included drunk and disorderly conduct.
Isn't that like saying the ocean is wet?
Having worked with the Air Force special operations tiltrotor program (CV-22) I was surprised to hear helicopters were used in the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. After all, the Desert One failure was a major impetus for the special operations world to obtain the CV-22. Unlike a helicopter, the CV-22's rotors can tilt perpendicular to the ground in flight to act as propellors allowing the aircraft to fly like a turboprop airplane. With CV-22s the Desert One raid could have been covered in one period of darkness, instead the slow speed and distance meant three periods of darkness would be required - two nights spent in the "empty" desert for ingress and egress with the second night used for the rescue.
Initial news reports stated MH-60s (special ops version of Blackhawks) were used. CV-22s would be far superior to Blackhawks so I wondered why the CV-22 wasn't used. I got part of an answer having just seen a photo of the tail section of the crashed helicoptor left next to the compound. It is not a Blackhawk in fact, I've never seen a helicopter like this. The features have definately been designed for stealth. Additionally, the pile of ash purported to be the rest of the helicoptor is consistent with a burned aircraft built mainly from carbon composite structure. The tail structure reminds me somewhat of the cancelled Army Comanche. Looks like the special ops have opted to use stealth over speed to make their approach into Pakistan.